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The body

Sanitary protection

Mensskydd - engelska

There are four types of sanitary protection that you can buy: sanitary pads, panty liners, tampons and menstrual cups. All of these, except for the menstrual cup, are available in most supermarkets, kiosks and pharmacies. Menstural cups can be bought online or at certain pharmacies.

Sanitary pad

A sanitary pad absorbs blood. You wear the pad in your underpants. On one side is an adhesive strip that holds the pad in place. There are different sizes. Most girls need to change pads more often during the first days of their period. A pad may begin to smell or leak if you wear it too long.

En binda utan blod. Illustration.

Panty liner

A panty liner is like a sanitary pad but smaller. You can use it at the end of your period when there is only a little blood. Some girls wear a panty liner when they use a tampon to avoid getting blood in their underpants if the tampon becomes full. 



You insert a tampon into the vagina. It absorbs blood so that it doesn’t leak. You can go swimming and do sports with a tampon.

There are different sizes of tampon. Choose a larger tampon if you bleed a lot. You can use a tampon even if you have never had sexual intercourse.

Tre tamponger utanför sina förpackningar. Illustration.

How to insert a tampon

The first time you try a tampon, do so when you are bleeding heavily since it is easier to insert. Choose a small tampon. It can be easier if you squat a little with your legs spread apart.

  • Wash and dry your hands.
  • Remove the plastic around the tampon.
  • It is the end with no string that is to be inserted inside the vaginal opening.
  • Spread the labia with the hand that is not holding the tampon.
  • Find the opening to the vagina and insert the tampon.
  • The vagina is angled to the back, so the tampon must be inserted a little towards the back. There may be a little resistance, but there is nothing that can be harmed in any way.
  • The tampon is supposed to sit high up in the vagina. The string is meant to hang out. You shouldn’t be able to feel the tampon. If you can feel it, then it is too far down. Try to push it up a little more. It must not be able to come out by itself, and it must not disappear into your body.
Snippan i genomskärning från sidan så att det syns hur tampongen sitter i slidan. Utsatt med pilar finns livmoder, slida, tampong och slidöppning. Illustration.

How often should I change tampons?

Change the tampon when you think that it may be full of blood. It slides out easily when you pull the string. If it is stuck, then it is probably dry and doesn’t need to be changed.

When you pull the tampon out, roll it in toilet paper and throw it in the wastebasket. 

You can leave a tampon in at night. Insert it before you go to sleep and change it as soon as you wake up. You can swim with a tampon. Change the tampon when you are finished.

Can a tampon get stuck?

Being unable to remove a tampon is very uncommon. Squat and insert a finger. Grab the string or the tampon and pull. You can get help from a midwife at a youth guidance centre (ungdomsmottagning) if you cannot remove a tampon.

Menstrual cup

A menstrual cup is made of soft rubber and can last for many years.

You insert it into the vagina and the blood flows into the cup. A menstrual cup holds more blood than a sanitary pad or a tampon.

You can swim with a menstrual cup.

En hand som håller i en menskopp. Foto.

How to use a menstrual cup

The wide end goes in first. It can be easier if you squat a little with your legs spread apart.

  • Wash your hands.
  • Spread the labia with the hand that is not holding the cup.
  • Fold the menstrual cup and insert it into the vagina. It unfolds so that it stays tight.

You should be able to feel the stem with your finger, but it should not stick out.

To insert the menstrual cup into your vagina, you can fold it as illustrated in the image.

Removing, emptying and storing the menstrual cup

To remove it, pull the stem. You can empty the blood into the toilet.

It is usually enough to empty the sanitary protection cup about twice a day. But you may need to empty it more often during the first few days of your period if you bleed a lot.

Wash the cup with cold or hot water before reinserting it.

Wash the cup with soap and water once your period is over. Then boil it in water for five minutes. Store it in a cloth bag or in an airy place, such as the bathroom cabinet.

More on Youmo


Youth Guidance Centre

You can visit a Youth Guidance Centre if you have questions about your body, sex or birth control. You can also visit the clinic if you are feeling anxious or depressed and need someone to talk to.


Slideshow: What is a menstrual period?

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